By Mark and Charlotte Phillips
Mark and Charlotte Phillips live and write in Houston, Texas, where their protagonist, Eva Baum, conducts business as a private investigator. In her short career, Eva has stepped on more than a few federal toes and become front page news more often than she’d like to admit. This kind of notoriety generates jealousy in people like reporter Jack Sparr.
The Eva Baum Detective Series includes characters from all walks of life, including the homeless. Just like the living, breathing homeless people who walk the city’s streets, our fictious homeless characters arrived at their current states via varying paths. In her more lucid moments, Wilma Bright takes full responsibility for her homelessness and claims to prefer freedom of street life to any other sort of existence. Those lucid moments present themselves less frequently with each passing year, so that it is no longer possible to determine if her lunacy is an act that keeps her safe on the streets, a disease that will eventually consume her, or if she simply prefers her Crazy Wilma persona to any other.
The following excerpt is from a series of interviews conducted by The Chronicle reporter Jack Sparr. Copies of the original digital audio recordings were submitted to the FBI voluntarily by Mr. Sparr. Transcripts and audio copies can be found in FBI file #EB25432C which deals with the FBI’s ongoing investigation of Houston detective Eva Baum. Contact Special Agent Whittaker for access to this file.
Subject is Wilma Bright (a.k.a. Crazy Wilma) a homeless friend of both Eva Baum and Marco Haynes (a.k.a. Shade).
Crazy Wilma (CW): All them fancy ‘lectonics you got. You’re just asking for the aliens to get you, Mister. They’ll focus in on the ‘missions and such.
Jack Sparr (JS): Yeah. I’ll take my chances. Let’s get back to Eva Baum. She’s your friend, right?
CW: Eva’s a saint. No taste in men though. I see her all the time going out on the town with putzes. She brings ‘em around so’s I can read ‘em, tell her if they’s any good. I can read people pretty good. Got the 6th, 7th, and 8th senses. I can tell you’re a putz. Could tell right off. Always been a putz and always will. You should look up Eva—her track record she’d probably go out with you. Eva always gets her dates to pay me for reading ‘em—sometimes tries to make me think she forgot to pay me and pays me again. She’s a good girl—just bad taste in men.
JS: O.K. Does Eva help out other street people or just you?
CW: I guess. Everybody I know knows Eva. She takes care of Shade a lot, and Captain Sam, and Tio, and…
JS: Yeah, I got it. Tell me about Shade.
CW: Why you want to know ‘bout Shade? You ain’t fixin’ on hurtin’ that boy? He’s got enough problems. Aliens busted him up pretty good. Just recent. Big aliens, with big shiny ray guns. Popped me a good one, too. See this scar on my head? People tellin’ me I’s crazy talkin’ ‘bout aliens. You don’t get no scars from your ‘magination, no siree. He was ten feet tall and green like, and …
JS: I’m not looking to hurt Shade. I promise. I just want to ask him about Eva. I’ll give him a twenty just like I gave you.
CW: You give me a twenty already? I don’t remember that. You tryin’ to cheat an old woman, Mister?
JS: I gave you a twenty already. See, it’s sticking out of the corner of that ridiculous foil hat you’re wearing.
CW: Don’t you be mockin’ my hat, Mister. This here hat keeps the aliens from reading my thoughts. Hell, with my 6th, 7th, and 8th senses, think of what they could find out about other humans just by reading me.
JS: Yeah, I’m scared. Just tell me about Shade.
CW: He’ll draw you a good picture. He can still draw good even after the aliens broke his hand. He drew me more’n once. I recognized me right off. Thank God he left my clothes on. Sometimes he kind of forgets to draw people with they’s clothes on. He’s drawn Eva lots too, and I seen one where she don’t have no clothes on. I told him he ain’t s’posed to do that. Not without the person’s permission.
JS: Naked pictures of Baum, huh? Sounds tasty. You think he’d be willing to sell me a few of those?
CW: No way. You aliens is all the same; wantin’ to get human bein’s nekid and probe ‘em and such. Well no doin’ you alien prevert. I’m a tunin’ you out.
JS: Hey, come back here you old coot. [Extended string of expletives deleted.]
In addition to their joint mysteries, The Eva Baum Detective Series, Mark Phillips recently published his first science fiction novel and is in the midst of a virtual book tour. To learn more about that tour and how you can win a free copy The Resqueth Revolution, check out Char’s Book Reviews and Writing News http://charsbookreviews.blogspot.com
The Phillips are giving away a copy of their book. But you get to choose the book. The two offers of The Resqueth Revolution and Hacksaw. The contest closes in two weeks. This is open to US Residents only